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Is AWNM a Star Upon Thar Machine?

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Lead from the Start: Is AWNM a Star Upon Thar Machine?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Is AWNM a Star Upon Thar Machine?

Is Daniel Pink really Sylvester McMonkey McBean? Is A Whole New Mind really a Star upon Thar machine?

I am a big proponent of Daniel Pink's, A Whole New Mind and 21CL. Thanks to Renee Moore, of TLN I read the negative review of Pink's book by Gary Stager titled, The Worst Book of the 21st Century. The idea I really took away from the review is a rejection of pop-business books as adding anything to education. I always enjoy hearing a dissenting voice but Mr. Stager's was especially enjoyable, if a little long. One of my favorite quotes is:
What business gurus like Don Tapscott, Daniel Pink, Malcolm Gladwell, Stephen Covey, Tony Robbins have in common is that none of them actually ever ran a business prior to hitting the bestseller list proffering untested business advice to others. Most of them have never been the night manager of a Seven-Eleven let alone launched or managed an innovative business venture.

They sure are fancy talkers.
And I liked:
Ultimately the success of these books is based on the authors’ ability to reduce complex concepts to simplistic binary dichotomies or playground rhymes. Such books are filled with numbered rule-based advice with little room for nuance. Issues are either black or white. The principles apply to any situation.
Supposedly, because of the involvement of the business world we have been moving away from fads in education. But, when writers like Freidman and Pink are getting all the speaking engagements instead of Linda Darling-Hammond or John L. Goodlad, aren't we still buying what Sylvester McMonkey McBean is selling? Especially, as Stager points out, much of what they are selling is pseudo-science?

"I'm quite happy to say
That the Sneetches got really quite smart on that day,
The day they decided that Sneetches are Sneetches
And no kind of Sneetch is the best on the beaches.
That day, all the Sneetches forgot about stars
And whether they had one, or not, upon thars."

Ultimately, I think that Pink makes some valid points that need to be heard and, as I said in a comment I left for Mr. Stager:
As for your point about reading Freidman or Pink instead of education books we (educators) might like to take a lesson from Pink. Maybe educators should apply some of that right mind thinking to write more readable books. I definitely learned more from John L. Goodlad than from Daniel Pink but, there isn't anybody who wants to talk about Goodlad with me, especially not in the teacher's lounge.

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At 6:29 AM, Blogger loonyhiker said...

Interesting points on both sides. Thanks for posting this because I see things differently now but I'm not sure which side I agree on. Of course I haven't read Mr. Pink's book but I have read The World is Flat. I'll withhold judgement until I have read A Whole New Mind.


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